Maranao Snacks | Pagana Mamis, The Sweet Feast
Maranao snacks are as luscious as with the rest of the Philippines. But they’ve never really gone into wide appreciation because they’re not readily available outside the Maranao community.
To begin with, our consciousness about the Maranao culture, people & religion are already shaded with bias & outdated realities. So much more its culinary traditions that remain largely unheard of.
Maranao snacks are as delicious as you can imagine.
Nibbling snacks is a daily & filling affair among Filipinos. And the Maranaos are no exceptions to this. In fact, their appetite for it are as huge as their kitchen full of sweet goodies.
Locally called “mamis”, this bunch of sweet snacks is characterized by wicked use of cassava, banana & coconut in an overload of sugary variations.
And in their homeland in Lanao del Sur, everyday is a Pagana Mamis day where they feast on these saccharinic delights every now & then. Battered & buttered, rolled & pulled, oiled & skewered—they got it all in more ways than one!
Here are some of the stars of Maranao snacks that will surely take you to a sweet spin.
Dodol is the icon of all Maranao confections. It is made from sticky rice flour, coconut milk & jaggery or traditional raw sugar from sugarcane.
Dodol takes about 8 hours of nonstop stirring to keep it from burning & to maintain its thick & no-stick consistency. While it’s everywhere in Lanao del Sur, the best that I’ve tasted are the ones with durian from Masiu.
Jokingly, it feels like eating fried wire mesh because of how it looks like. But Tiateg is actually a medley of rice flour, egg & coco milk. It is perforated to create all those tiny holes. It is deep-fried & once cooled, it is dowsed in syrup & rolled.
I grew up eating this whenever I visit my grandparents in Balo-i back in the 80s. I remember her laboriously grating chunks of cassava, battering it to crepe-like dough & wrapping it around a ripe “saba” banana.
I really don’t know why it’s called pakbol but I remember all the good times with my cousins rolling it on a bed of sugar.
The name sounds funny because in Visayan language, paborot means to blow up. Oh well, they look like happy bursts of candies anyway. But paborot actually are made from ground sticky rice, rolled into balls & deep-fried. It is then glazed in thick caramelized sugar.
This may just be your ordinary suman or rice cake but the Maranaos did a wicked twist by flavoring it with durian bits.
Budbod to the Visayans, Barubod is steamed glutinous rice. But unlike other suman, this one’s milled & soaked in sweetened coconut milk, making it quite a happier version than the rest of its rice varieties.
I wonder if other provinces have it too but Dalog is a super-filling chunk of boiled taro in sweetened coconut milk. Some homes prepare it with mid-sized tapioca pearls & others use ube or purple yam.
Palitaw is a common native Filipino dessert made of sticky rice & topped with grated coconut. But unlike the rest, the Maranaos love it in tiny balls & served without the usual shebang of toasted & diseccated coconut & sesame seeds.
This wiggly octopus-ish looking snack is made of soft & soggy flour dough, pulled & twisted into a knot shape, something like a pretzel.
Tamokonsi is, you guessed it right, sweet but just enough to hit a smile. It’s quite rubbery too but then again, a happy chow.
Balolon is one of my favorite Maranao snacks. It is light, sweet & chewy. At first it just looks like rolled thin pancakes. But it is actually stuffed with diseccated & toasted coconut & raw sugar called muscovado.
Tiompe a Banggala
Banggala is cassava in Maranao or in some Visayan dialects. Tiompe is Maranao pancake made from ground cassava mixed with loads of margarine. It’s quite thick & textured, not my favorite but it was worth the try.
Tapay a Banggala
Just like Tiompe, Tapay a Banggala’s main ingredient is cassava. But instead of drowning it in margarine, it is mixed with coconut milk & sweetened with sugar. It is then battered into thin slices, wrapped in banana leaves & steamed.
This one’s a hybrid of pretzel & donut or something of that sort. It’s like a soft baked pastry that comes mostly in chocolate flavor. Whatever it really is, one thing is sure—it’s super sweet because of the sugar coating.
Ever wonder how it got its name? When the Americans discovered this local snack, they exclaimed, “look at this!” See, even them couldn’t really tell what exactly it is.
If you were to give me a present from Lanao del Sur, please make it boxes & boxes of broa! This delicious snack is no stranger to any foodie, coming in with different names like broas, ladyfinger cookie or sponge biscuit.
In Lanao del Sur, especially the Saguiaran version, comes in spongy but compact bite size cakes & not the crunchy cookie type. It is best paired with tea or coffee.
The Maranaos truly have sweet tooth too! Forget about those fancy whipped creams & cinnamon sprinkles because theirs are just perfect on their own.
I just wish that someday these lovely Maranao snacks would wend its way into national culinary fairs for foodies to sample what they have been missing out on all these times.
Do you have some snacks in your province that are quite similar to Maranao snacks? Tell us more about it in the comment box below.